The Pancreas is the organ responsible for digestion and keeping a check on blood sugar. Located in the abdomen region, behind the lower stomach, this organ releases digestive enzymes and churns out insulin.When cells in our body degenerate or become old, they are replaced by new cells. These new cells are supposed to be exact replicas of the cells they are replacing. However, sometimes the new cells turn out to be different. If the intricate and elite systems in our body are not able to correct this mistake, these cells grow to become cancer cells.
Pancreatic cancer occurs in the pancreatic tissues and is difficult to identify in the early stages. There are many crucial organs located right next to the Pancreas, such as bile ducts, intestine, major blood vessels, etc. Unfortunately, Pancreatic Cancer is extremely metastatic and spread directly to these vital organs.In cases like these, removing the malignant 4 pancreatic tumor isn't enough; the surgeon may have to remove the Pancreas in entirety.
No wonder Pancreatic Cancer is extremely ruthless and dangerous. It has a high-risk rate and a low relative survival rate. But the fight isn't over till we say it is. Today innumerable ongoing clinical trials are striving for better treatment and survival rate when it comes to Pancreatic Cancer.
The pancreatic tumor can be of two types: Endocrine or Exocrine. The kind of treatment and medication will depend on the type of Pancreatic tumor. Medical professionals can test the tumor tissue and analyze their biological markups such as constituent genes, proteins, traits, and characteristics. It allows medical professionals to be armed with an intelligent solution that can effectively fight the Pancreatic tumor. This entire process is called Molecular Profiling. Let's understand the two types of Pancreatic tumor in detail:
This is the most common form of Pancreatic Cancer as the exocrine makes up for 95% of the Pancreas. Exocrine Pancreatic Cancer spreads from the exocrine cells of the Pancreas. The most prevalent kind of Exocrine Pancreatic Cancer is Pancreatic Carcinoma or Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma. When cancer originates in the mucus-secreting gland in the Pancreas, it is called Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma. Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma is the most common form. Intraductal Papillary Mucinous Neoplasm(IPMN) is another common inter-ductal form of Pancreatic Cancer. It isn't dangerous in the beginning, but risk increases as it grows and spreads. Mucinous cystic neoplasm with an invasive adenocarcinoma is a rare Pancreatic tumor that occurs in the tail. It is a dangerous cyst that is comparable to IPMN.
The endocrine pancreatic system generates hormones which are directly released in the bloodstream. These tumors are also called Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PNETs), or islet tumors. These PNETs can be functional or non-functional; the functional ones release hormones, and the non-functional ones don't. These Pancreatic endocrine tumors react differently as compared to exocrine tumors. Their symptoms also vary from the exocrine Pancreatic tumor.
There are a variety of hormones involved in endocrine pancreatic cancer, and depending on the hormone, the symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer may vary:-
Only at a later stage do we usually discover the signs of Pancreatic Cancer. It diminishes the chances of surviving the 5-year mark of a healthy life. Most people witness recurrent symptoms and are diagnosed with Recurrent Pancreatic Cancer. Apart from taking proper medication, and leading a medically supervised life, regular checkups and CT Scans can help catch the signs of Pancreatic Cancer in advance.
Understanding the difference between the various types of Pancreatic Cancer is crucial in the determination of treatment and medication.
It is difficult to detect the signs of Pancreatic Cancer at an early stage. The survival rate of the patient often ends up depending on how delayed the Pancreatic Cancer diagnosis is. While there are very few cases of Pancreatic Cancer each year, it is safer to remember these symptoms and keep them in mind, just in case. Not only will it help in a quicker Pancreatic Cancer diagnosis, but it also helps control the metastatic nature of the Pancreatic tumor.
There are two types of Pancreatic tumors- Malignant Pancreatic tumors and Benign Pancreatic tumors. Any Pancreatic Cancer survivor will tell you that catching the symptoms at an early stage can help reduce the chances of the tumors becoming malignant.
Pancreatic cancer is caused due to the harmful growth of abnormal cells. Healthy cells regularly die, only to be replaced by new cells. Cancer cells don't follow these rules; they have an irregularity causing them to grow and multiply abnormally. They don't die like healthy cells and keep increasing, thus leading to Pancreatic Cancer.Not even the best Pancreatic Cancer hospital will be able to explain why some cells are damaged, and some aren't. Doctors haven't been able to understand what causes the mutation of these cells, or why their genetic roadmap isn't regular.
Causes of Pancreatic Cancer include the following two types of mutations:
You can inherit mutations in your genes from your parents. Parents who have Pancreatic Cancer are likely to pass it on their children. Six such genes can cause mutations to be passed down from parent to offspring. These genes are- BRCA1, BRCA2, CDKN2A, ATM, TP53, and MLH1. Mutation of any of these genes can cause the person to be at a higher risk of Pancreatic Cancer, but it's not a necessity. Passing down genes that cause other types of cancer(colorectal cancer) may also cause inherited mutations.
While some gene mutations are inherited, most happen after the child is born. These mutations may occur due to external causes like frequent exposure to Tobacco smoke, or there may be no external cause whatsoever. It is a tedious task to determine what caused these gene mutations if no external factor had any role to play. There is an interesting fact that must be brought to notice- some of the acquired gene mutations are similar to those that are inherited(ex- TP53), while others are starkly different. Acquired gene mutation is the more common cause of Pancreatic Cancer.
There can be many external causes of Pancreatic Cancer. Certain factors may aggravate Pancreatic Cancer symptoms or increase the chances of acquiring the mutations, as mentioned earlier. Some of these risk factors are as follows:-
While there is no foreseeable way to avoid gene mutations, unless external factors cause them, we can try and do our best to maintain a healthy lifestyle.Pancreatic Cancer Treatment is ruthless and aggressive. To avoid ever having to go through it, we must:
Having a balanced diet can reduce many problems in the body. It can make sure your body functions normally and excretes toxins. Having food at regular intervals also avoids ulcers and acidity.
Daily exercise helps keep your mind and body fit.
Maintaining the correct Body-Mass index is important as the loss of weight is one of the first symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer.
Usually, the symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer aren't visible until the later stages, and by that time, it becomes very tough to treat it.There are different methods for diagnosing Pancreatic cancer:
Physical examination The doctor will check for signs of jaundice in eyes, nails, and stool samples. The doctor will check for a bloated stomach or abdomen. Blood Tests The doctor will check for increased levels of Tumor Markers of Bilirubin in the blood. Both are the signs of Pancreatic Cancer.
Imaging tests help identify the origin and location of the Pancreatic tumor. Pancreatic Cancer treatment can begin only when the stage and location are identified correctly.
Usually, the symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer aren't visible until the later stages, and by that time, it becomes very tough to treat it. There are different methods for diagnosing Pancreatic cancer:
The treatment you undergo will depend on the Pancreatic Cancer stage you're at. Let's take a quick look at the stages of pancreatic cancer, and what they mean:
Medical treatments can't work magic by themselves. The patient must rely on a healthy diet and moderate exercise. Getting diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer can be a life-altering experience, and therefore, it's only fair to make several lifestyle changes. Having a daily routine, healthy sleep-cycle, intake of a balanced diet, and moderate exercise can help your mind and body to stay in the best possible shape. Only if you do this, will you be able to fight back with complete energy and will power.
Remission refers to the stage wherein the body shows no evidence of Pancreatic Cancer. It means the body is visibly cured, and the patient must try to revert to the life they had before having Pancreatic Cancer. Side effects of the treatment may include:
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